PVC Pipes for sprinklers have been in use for nearly 100 years. They’re reliable, dependable, and fairly easy to use. However, not much has changed about them over the last few years. There have been no major innovations or technology applied to PVC Pipes. What we see is what you get. At Dr. Sprinkler Repair (Utah County), we know that you don’t have time to read up and understand everything there is to know about sprinkler systems; so we’ve done it for you!
When it comes to PVC Pipes in your sprinkler system or irrigation control, you can count on Dr. Sprinkler Repair (Utah County) to help you at every turn and beyond. One call is all it will take to receive our abundance of quality services, including sprinkler repair, sprinkler installation, winterizing sprinklers, drip irrigation, and much more! With PVC Pipes specifically, we can help you move them around, install them, or fix ones that are broken. Call us today at (801) 709-1574 to learn more!
Background and Makeup of Most PVC Pipes
The PVC pipe is a white pipe that is made of hard thick plastic. PVC is used to carry/feed water to the entire sprinkler system. PVC is most commonly either 1” or ¾,” but can be as big as 1 ½” to as little as ½.” Be careful to check what schedule (or thickness) the PVC is, as there are two different types: Schedule 40 and schedule 80. Schedule 40 is thinner than Schedule 80 and may not last as long.
Due to the nature and material of PVC Pipes, there are some pros and cons that you may want to look out for when considering or purchasing it as a solution to your lawn irrigation needs.
- Pros- PVC pipe is hard plastic — making it more resilient to damage from things such as punctures and physical impairments. It does not require as much digging as the Pollyaritheane pipe to repair.
- Cons- If you live in an area with severe weather patterns, PVC can become brittle due to weathering, such as sun and winter damage. PVC pipe does not naturally bend, so it may be more difficult to fix if working with a tight angle. Fittings can also be tricky, because there has to be enough room for the fitting to slide onto the pipe, or else it will not hold properly and will leak or blow off.
Due to the stiffness of the PVC Pipe, the first thing you should do is dig 1 foot-deep, straight holes for your pipe, across the desired area. Make sure to dig a wide enough space so that dirt will not fall on or in the pipe where connections will be. There are two ways to combine PVC pipes:
- Since you cannot move PVC pipe to connect it, you must either cut the pipe and get a PVC extension, (a fitting that can freely expand in or out; we’ll talk about them more later), then pull the joint over the other side of the pipe, OR
- Cut the pipe and glue on a union. A union is a fitting that unscrews in the middle so you can glue each piece to both sides of the pipe you are trying to connect, then easily screw them back together. Unions are harder to use because you have to cut the exact amount of pipe to put them on. If you cut too little pipe off they will be too close and not be able to connect, but if you cut too much pipe off, the spacing will be so far apart that you won’t be able to screw them tightly back together. A common mistake with unions, or any fitting you have to screw, is that a lot of people will screw them without letting the glue dry; pulling the fittings off the glued pipe, or twisting the glue that has already started to dry, making the fit not seal properly.
When connecting a PVC Pipe-line, you must cut straight, clean, and dry both sides of the pipe that are being put together. It is essential to clean and dry the pipe so the glue sticks well and that you do not get debris in the system. Debris essentially being installed as you install the PVC pipe will create more hassles than anything else. You then use something called Primer (a purple cleaning agent) to do a finer clean on the pipe and help bond the glue to the pipe. Make sure to prime both the fitting and the pipe itself. Once you have primed both the fitting and the pipe, you will then apply PVC Glue to both the fitting and the pipe. Use enough so there is a thin layer on both the fitting and the pipe. Make sure the glue goes all the way around and as deep as the fitting will be going on the pipe. You will only have a small window of time before the glue dries to push the pipe into the fitting, so make sure you are prepared to do so BEFORE applying glue. Once primed and glued, push the pipe into the fitting, turn ¼ of a turn, then hold the pipe into the fitting for at least 20-30 seconds to let it settle. Do not test the connection for at least 15 minutes(or longer in colder weather) for the glue to dry. Keep in mind it takes about 2 hours for PVC glue to cure fully. Make sure to test the newly glued fitting before burying it.
Repairs — Dr. Sprinkler Repair (Utah County) Can Help!
PVC pipe most often gets damaged from either cracking or shattering due to weather damage or other accidental damage. The PVC pipe can become very brittle in this state, making the pipe fragile and harder to repair. For your own safety, this is why you should be very careful when repairing a pipe and make sure not to twist, pull, or tug on the pipe when either cutting or gluing your new piece in. Leave it to us at Dr. Sprinkler Repair (Utah County) to help you fix or otherwise repair your sprinkler PVC Pipes by calling us today at (801) 709-1574!
It’s common to use extensions because it’s not possible to move pipe that is already underground, so this fitting pulls out, acting as a moving pipe. To install or utilize PVC Pipe extensions, follow these steps below:
- Carefully dig out the area of the broken pipe about a foot on each side of the break. Be sure to dig underneath the pipeline, as well as removing any loose dirt that could fall into or on top of the pipe.
- Cut out the broken area of the pipe, making sure to twist the pipe cutters back and forth to not put any bind on the unaffected area of the pipe. Cut enough room to add a PVC extension. You can measure by cutting a little bit longer than the PVC Extension you are going to put in. Remember, if you cut too much, your extension may not reach the other side of the pipe. If you cut too little, your extension will not fit between the cuts of pipe.
- Dry the area, although some glues are wet or dry glue, water can damage the glue, so make sure there is no water draining inside or outside of the pipe.
- Prime and glue or PVC Lock a Coupler (a fitting that is open on both ends so it can slide onto a pipe) onto an extension fitting so that both ends are Female (meaning they can be placed or slid on top of a pipe).
- Once that is done, push one of the sides on by way of either glue/primer or PVC lock, then simply extend the other side of the extension to the opposite pipe. Make sure both fittings are on all the way and that the fittings have had enough time to dry.
- Finally, test your fitting.
Unions are commonly used if there is not enough room for an extension (due to small areas) or if the pipe is slightly off-angle. To DIY your own unions, follow the steps:
- First, prepare the area just like you would an extension; by digging and cleaning the pipe.
- Prepare by putting the fitting together outside of the repair area. This is done by putting your fittings together as if you were going to repair without the pipe.
- Wrap Teflon tape or pipe dope clockwise around the threads of both male couplers.
- For 1” pipe the standard amount of times to wrap the thread with Teflon is 6-8 times. Any more than that can make it hard to get on, while any less is likely to leak still.
- For ¾” or below, 4-6 times around is generally fine.
- Wrap Teflon tape or pipe dope clockwise around the threads of both male couplers.
- Screw the male couplers into each side of the union to the point where most threads aren’t showing, or until the fitting is hard to screw with a wrench. The easiest way to screw fitting in is to hold one side against the ground with a wrench, then twist the other side with another wrench.
- Once both fittings are screwed in, screw the union back together.
- Measure the area of PVC that needs to be cut.
- Measuring can be tricky so be sure to locate how far in each fitting the PVC will slide on each side of the fitting. This can be done by sticking an object in each side and marking the object, or some fitting will have it marked already with a crease or edge. Now that you know about how much pipe will slide into each side of the fittings you can now measure your cut. Place your accessory on top of the pipe you are cutting, and mark where each fitting will end up when fully slid into the pipe so that both sides of the union will be able to screw back together once glued in.
- After you have marked your pipe, cut it with a ratcheting PVC cutter back and forth until you have cut all the way through on both sides. Unscrew your union, as you will not be able to glue your fitting while the union is together.
- Prime, then glue both the fitting and the pipe, push the fitting in, twist it ¼ of a turn and hold for 20 seconds, or until it does not move on its own.
- To get both sides on, you may have to lift on the pipe on top of the other, but be extremely careful when doing so, as this causes many breaks further down the line. You can prevent this by digging more of the pipe out, so you have more room to work with. Once both sides are glued or the PVC Pipe is locked on, you can screw both sides of the union back together, making sure you have a wrench on both sides, so your newly-glued fitting does not twist. After your glue has time to dry, test out your new repair. Once you have checked for no leaks, then you’re ready to go.
Other Applications & Conclusion
Other applications of PVC include a conduit for sprinkler wiring, sleeves underneath sidewalks or driveways, bracing pipes, drainage, and oftentimes, connection to other pipes, such as polyurethane. The uses for PVC Pipe are virtually endless, but when it comes to using them for your sprinklers, use the services of Dr. Sprinkler Repair (Utah County) to make sure they’re set up right, working properly, and not needing repairs. If the situation does arise and you need PVC Pipe replacement or repair-work done, call us today at (801) 709-1574! At Dr. Sprinkler Repair (Utah County), we install the best and repair the rest!
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